Last night, I led a discussion for our small group on Jerry Bridge's "The Pursuit of Holiness". It was a lively time, and everyone had something to share about chapter 8. It was unique for me, because I don't usually lead bible study for men and women together. I did it a few times a while back about 12 years ago, but the feedback about my style was that I was too "touchy feely". The guys wanted to discuss weightier theology and I kept bringing it back to how the passage applied to real life. The women and I were ready to declare civil war and secede from the union.
The only way, I figured out, to have a mixed group discussion is if men were allowed to contribute as men and if women were allowed to be women, and we all agreed to learn from the other. But I wasn't going to be persuaded to lead such a group again. Until last night. It wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be, but it was decidedly different than leading an all women's group. I had a feeling, though, that everyone was holding back because they were in mixed company, especially when I dropped the bomb "Have you ever gone through re-training yourself to break disobedience in your life and what was it like for you?"
The crickets were chirping loudly in the background.
I have the opportunity to lead chapter 9's discussion and I've decided to include a new group dynamic where we do break into men's and women's smaller groups with questions for each group. I think that when it comes to talking about sin, we feel better being with others that we feel would understand us. The goal is to encourage each other to a deeper obedience and a closer walk with God.
I have more to share about women in church leadership, but maybe later.